In terms of excitement and late drama, matchday 28 this weekend certainly did not disappoint. The teams battling at both ends of the table endured differing fortunes, so just who were the winners and losers from the latest round of Bundesliga matches?
RB Leipzig’s push to finish in the top four and qualify once again for the Champions League took a big step forward with their 3-2 win over Augsburg and Timo Werner played the key role on Saturday at the Red Bull Arena.
His assist set-up Kevin Kampl for the equaliser after he turned on the afterburners to cross for the Austrian to cancel out Augsburg’s early opener. The German international scored his 99th Bundesliga goal just after the half hour mark to equalise with a deft finish following a right wing delivery from Benjamin Henrichs.
Three minutes later and Werner bagged his 100th top-flight goal as he teed himself up with a great volley after being fed by Kampl on the edge of the area. Nine goals for the season now after his return to Saxony from Chelsea.
Schalke’s Union old boys
Hertha Berlin’s loss at Schalke on Friday was a bitter pill to swallow, but it was made even harder to take with two former Union Berlin players doing the main damage. Marius Bülter scored twice, while midfielder Tim Skarke scored one and provided the assist for Bülter’s opener.
From bottom of the table a few weeks ago and with Pellegrino Matarazzo reportedly one loss away from losing his job for the second time this season, the Sinsheimer have moved up to 13th and five points clear of the bottom three.
Many saw them as lambs to the slaughter at the Allianz Arena after Bayern’s elimination from the Champions League gave the Rekordmeister a lot to prove, but Hoffenheim deservedly took a point from their trip to Bavaria. Andrej Kramaric’s second half free-kick cancelled out Bayern’s opener from Benjamin Pavard.
“We went to Munich and dreamed of coming away with something” Kramaric said after the draw. “It was a difficult match. Bayern Munich are one of the best teams in the world. We were considerably better in the second half and produced a super performance. We gave away little and knew that we would get our chance. I’m ecstatic about my goal. We even had a counter and perhaps could have scored a second goal. But when you’re playing in Munich, you can be satisfied with a point.
“The most important thing was that we didn’t concede any more goals. You need some luck in Munich, we had that. Before the free-kick, there was a very minor contact in a very dangerous area. I knew that it would be a goalscoring chance and had to go down. That was clever in the situation.”
Freiburg/ Roland Sallai
Freiburg became the 23rd club to reach the 1000 Bundesliga goals mark when Hungarian midfielder Roland Sallai equalised against Werder Bremen at the Weser Stadion. The goal brought the Breisgauer back into the game following Maximilian Philipp’s debut opener.
Christian Streich’s side went on to win the game when Lukas Höler headed home the second four minutes later from Sallai’s cross. Freiburg’s win sees them move to within a point of Leipzig in fourth and keep them very much in the race for a top four finish this season.
Hertha Berlin/ Sandro Schwarz
In the so-called ‘must-win’ relegation clash with Schalke, Hertha were not just beaten, they were handed a thorough beating with the Königsblauen scoring five.
The hosts 5-2 win saw them swap places with the Alte Dame at the bottom of the Bundesliga table and with just six games left this season, the battle against the dreaded drop is becoming more fraught for the capital club.
On Sunday the club’s management pushed the panic button and duly sacked coach Sandro Schwarz. The decision to hand the reins over to Pal Dardai once again seemed the only choice open to them, but the Hertha stalwart is facing a mammoth task to keep the club in the Bundesliga.
If Borussia Dortmund are going to win a first Bundesliga crown since 2012 they are going to have to take advantage of any slip-ups from leaders Bayern Munich. They missed a massive opportunity to do just that on Saturday when succumbing to a last second equaliser from VfB Stuttgart at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
Having allowed the Swabians to get back to 2-2 after going down to ten men, the Schwarzgelben looked to have saved the day with a 92nd minute goal from Giovanni Reyna. Dortmund being Dortmund however just couldn’t see it through and a 96th minute equaliser from Silas saw them let Bayern off the hook.
They won’t get many chances to overhaul Bayern and this was a huge chance thrown away. Time will tell how vital it proves to be.
Stuttgart were not helped in their efforts to claw back a 2-0 deficit when Greek defender Mavropanos picked up two yellow cards in the space of four minutes. A tactical foul to stop the pacey Karim Adeyemi was followed soon after by a clumsy challenge on Donyell Malen.
The ex-Arsenal centre-back is not short of pace himself, which makes the double yellow even more annoying for Stuttgart fans. Luckily for him, playing with a man less didn’t stop Sebastian Hoeneß’ side rescuing a potentially vital point in their 3-3 draw.
The second needless red card of the weekend went to Unions Paul Jaeckel, who gave his side a disadvantage at home to Bochum. Booked for pulling the shirt of Christopher Antwei-Adjei in the 50th minute, the defender lasted just ten more minutes before another stupid foul on Patrick Osterhage saw him sent off by referee Tobias Stieler. In the end die Eisernen were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw. Had they had the full compliment of eleven players, a better result could have been there for them.